Resources for Self Represented Litigants

Are you considering whether or not you will handle a legal matter, particularly a matter that is going to court, without the assistance of a lawyer? The following resources, as well as those listed in the other Preparing for Court sections (see the menu on the left), and specific areas of the law may inform your decision.


CPLEA Suggested Resources

Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.

Alberta Resources

An instructional video from the Canadian Bar Association Alberta branch demonstrates the basics of procedure in civil court for non-lawyers. It is about 25 minutes in length, and uses common types of courtroom disputes to explain the kinds of evidence you may need for your case as well as how to organize and present that evidence to the judge.

Related legal topic(s): Courts and court judgments, Legal process, Self-representation

The Resolution and Court Administration Services Division provides administrative support to all the courts within the province, including electronic legal information services through Alberta Law Libraries. Topics in this section of the Alberta Courts website include: Mediation Programs; Family Justice Services; Court Forms and Orders Services (formly known as the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) and LInC - Law Information Centres); Judgments; Jury Duty; ; Sheriff - Civil Enforcement; Review / Assessment Office; Rules of Court; Transcript Management Services; Publications; Video Conferencing. They also offer: Information services for the public on court procedures and legal services options; assistance with locating and filling out court forms; and referrals to other community legal services, as well as assessment services, dispute resolution services for child support, family and child medication, conflict intervention, family mediation, and civil mediation to help parties who filed an action in small claims court to reach a negotiated settlement.

Related legal topic(s): Civil actions, Legal process, Legal services, Mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Self-representation, Small claims court

Part of the Alberta Court Services is access to the Alberta Law Libraries. The primary mission of Alberta Law Libraries is to facilitate access to legal information for the Alberta community, including its judiciary, lawyers, citizens, libraries and government agencies. A section of their website is dedicated to helping Albertans Get pointed in the right direction as they begin their legal research. mbers of the Alberta Law Libraries (ALL) team have prepared research guides on legislation, case law and a variety of subject-specific areas. In these guides, you will find information, resources and links about several areas of law. Alberta Law Libraries (ALL) were formed in 2009 when Alberta Court Libraries and Alberta Law Society Libraries were amalgamated. ALL has served the legal community in Alberta since 1885 and use of our collections is free to all who visit our libraries.

Related legal topic(s): Law libraries, Self-representation

The Rules of Court as published by Alberta Queen's Printer are available for free download in PDF format: Volume 1 - Alberta Rules of Court AR 124/2010 at 692 pages and Volume 2 - Alberta Rules of Court Supplemental Information at 506 pages.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process

The goal of this document is to help self-represented litigants (SRLs) navigate CanLll in order to prepare for the presentation of their cases - in court, in chambers, or as part of a negotiation or mediation

Related legal topic(s): Legal research

This primer, published by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, is packed with the information and practical self-help tips for preparing yourself, emotionally and technically, for court. It includes a section on self-care tips; a section on preparing for court; a section on appearing in court (generic and not specific for any one jurisdiction, family or civil courts); and finally a collection of ten top practical tips from self-represented litigants on “what works”. This 25-page PDF is available for free download.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation

Going to court? Here are some tips and information on what to do in court. (Video) Produced in coordination with PBLA and Alberta Courts. Video Transcripts are available in :  English | Spanish | French | Arabic | Hindi | Punjabi | Urdu

Related legal topic(s): Civil actions, Legal process, Self-representation

Going to court? Here are some tips and information on understanding your foreclosure matter. (Video) Produced in coordination with PBLA and Alberta Courts. Video Transcripts are available in :  English | Spanish | French | Arabic | Hindi | Punjabi | Urdu

Related legal topic(s): Bankruptcy and foreclosure, Civil actions, Legal process, Real estate and home ownership, Self-representation

When you are going to court, there are some procedures and protocols that you need to follow. You will find information here on court etiquette, court procedures, and appeals and transcripts.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation

This page on the Alberta Provincial Court website provides links to information on alternatives to going to court, where to find help with court forms, court procedures and protocols,and general information on criminal, family, youth, traffic, and civil courts.

Related legal topic(s): Self-representation

The goal of Reading and Understanding Case Reports is to equip self represented litigants with the necessary understanding to read a reported court decision – a “case report” – when conducting legal research and preparing to present your own case to a court.

Related legal topic(s): Legal research, Self-representation

This page on the Supreme Court of Canada website provides information for self-represented litigants in the following areas:

  1. If you are thinking about bringing an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada or
  2. if you have been named as a respondent in an application for leave to appeal, it’s very important to try to get legal advice as a first step. 

The Supreme Court of Canada only hears select cases.  It helps a lot to get advice on whether or not yours could be a case which the Court will hear.

Pro Bono Ontario operates a program that helps in this situation.  No matter what province you are in, you are strongly encouraged to apply for assistance by visiting the Pro Bono Ontario website.

Related legal topic(s): Self-representation

Representing yourself in court is a daunting task. This issue of LawNow offers some suggestions for success.

Related legal topic(s): Self-representation, Small claims court, Taxation

Canada/Federal

This 20 page outline takes you through purpose and structure, how to prepare, consequences (what to do if you get an agreement and what if you do not), and is packed with practical tips on how to think about settlement strategy from mediators, judges and lawyers – and other SRLs.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) is committed to advancing understanding of the challenges and hard choices facing the very large numbers of Canadians who come to court without counsel. The Project works to promote dialogue and collaboration among all those affected by the self-represented litigant phenomenon, both justice system professionals and litigants themselves. They publish resources designed specifically for SRLs, as well as research reports that examine the implications for the justice system.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Legal research

An increasing number of persons appearing in the court system are self-represented. In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Council created a statement of principles concluding that “self-represented persons are generally uninformed about their rights and about the consequences of the options they choose.” The Council also underlined the need for better information and tools for those who wish to represent themselves. (PDF - 12 pages.)

Related legal topic(s): Self-representation